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AFC North Roundup: October 13, 2017

Only three teams in the AFC North are active in Week 6, but the news cycle never pauses. Here’s the latest around the division for this week.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

In Week 6, the Cincinnati Bengals are on their bye for the 2017 season, but that hasn’t stopped the flow of news out of the other AFC North team from Ohio. Here’s the latest intel about the Bengals, plus key must-reads about the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers for this week.

Baltimore Ravens: Heading into the 2017 season, the one area in which the Baltimore Ravens seemed weakest was on the offensive line. But, five games in, that doesn’t seem to be the case. The Ravens have the sixth-most rushing yardage while averaging 4.3 yards per run attempt, and quarterback Joe Flacco has been sacked nine times. As Kyle P. Barber at Baltimore Beatdown notes, Pro Football Focus has the Ravens’ offensive line ranking fourth in the league thus far.

How can that be? Beyond the uninspiring lineup the Ravens opened the season with, they’ve lost perennial All-Pro guard Marshal Yanda to a season-ending injury. Michael Sedjro says to look to the coaching: Offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris needs more credit.

Also: There’s more to keep an eye on, injury-wise, on the Ravens’ O-line. Jermaine Eluemunor will be taking over for the time being for right guard Matt Skura, who is workign his way back from an MCL sprain. Kyle J. Andrews believes the rookie has potential.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Five interceptions last week, inconsistent performance so far this season and a penchant for increased chattiness (with a side of retirement contemplation): That’s Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s 2017 to date. It’s no wonder Behind the Steel Curtain’s Jeff Hartman is wondering if the 14-year veteran can still be included among the NFL’s top 10 quarterbacks.

Also: There’s one way that Roethlisberger can begin to redeem his down year and that’s to put on an impressive display, on the road, against the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. In fact, Dan Sagar says doing so would be “a career-defining moment.”

Cincinnati Bengals: The Cincinnati Bengals have their bye week in Week 6, but it’s still been an eventful few days for the 2-3 team. Tight end Tyler Eifert, who suffered a back injury in Week 2 and hasn’t played since, has opted to undergo surgery to repair his herniated disc. As Cincy Jungle’s Jason Marcum points out, this is Eifert’s third back surgery; the tight end is also set to hit free agency in 2018.

Also: The loss of Eifert hasn’t been the silver bullet to kill the Bengals’ season. In fact, the offense in particular has been trending upward according to Brandon Whited’s Film Room examination of its progress. One thing that cannot be denied: The Bengals have finally started scoring points. After a zero in Week 1 and then nine points scored in Week 2, the Bengals haven’t put up fewer than 20 in the three games which followed and head into the bye week on a two-game win streak.